Press Release

ADL Announces Appointment of Rabbi Charlie Cytron-Walker as Special Advisor on Security

New York, NY, July 25, 2022... ADL (the Anti-Defamation League) announced today the appointment of Rabbi Charlie Cytron-Walker, as Special Advisor on Security to ADL. 

Rabbi Charlie, as he is known, was the Rabbi of Congregational Beth Israel in Colleyville, Texas and earned international praise for his actions when he and members of his congregation were taken hostage in their own sanctuary.  He has recently become Rabbi of Temple Emanuel in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

“We could not be more excited to welcome Rabbi Charlie to ADL where he will provide strategic counsel in helping our communities and leaders protect themselves against violent antisemitism,” said ADL CEO and National Director Jonathan Greenblatt.  “At a time when antisemitism and hate crimes are at an all-time high, Rabbi Charlie has experienced firsthand the need for increased vigilance, resources, and programs to counter all kinds of hate and bigotry. We eagerly look forward to learning from the Rabbi’s leadership and expertise.” 

“I am proud to be working with the ADL in the critical work of combating antisemitism and building stronger ties among America’s faith communities, “said Rabbi Cytron-Walker.  “Support and training from the ADL have been invaluable to me over the years; it literally saved my life and those of my congregants.  This role allows me to help others – clergy, congregational leaders, members of the media – better understand both the challenges we face and opportunities we have by balancing security and hospitality.”

On the morning of January 15th, 2022, Rabbi Charlie welcomed a 44-year-old British national into the sanctuary where Shabbat services were about to be livestreamed and offered him a cup of tea. Midway through the service, the man, identified as Malik Faisal Akram, pulled out a gun and took Cytron-Walker and three others hostage. After a nearly 11-hour standoff, Cytron-Walker threw a chair at the hostage-taker, distracting him and allowing for all to escape. In the days after the event, the rabbi testified before a U.S. House committee on the need for increased security funding for synagogues and other places of worship. He appeared widely on television and published an editorial in The New York Times. 

Rabbi Cytron-Walker’s work with ADL will be alongside his new responsibilities as Rabbi at Temple Emanuel in Winston Salem, North Carolina.

ADL is the leading anti-hate organization in the world. Founded in 1913, its timeless mission is “to stop the defamation of the Jewish people and to secure justice and fair treatment to all.” Today, ADL continues to fight all forms of antisemitism and bias, using innovation and partnerships to drive impact. A global leader in combating antisemitism, countering extremism and battling bigotry wherever and whenever it happens, ADL works to protect democracy and ensure a just and inclusive society for all.